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Smokies’ coaching staff for 2019 unveiled

(Tennessee Smokies press release) In conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, the Smokies have announced their coaching staff assignments for the 2019 season. The Smokies will be welcoming back five returning coaches including Mark Johnson as Manager, Terry Clark who will serve as the Pitching Coach, Ben Carhart as a Coach, Toby Williams who assumes the role of Athletic Trainer, and Jason Morriss as the Strength Coach. The Smokies have just one coach making their debut with the Smokies, as that is Hitting coach Chad Allen. 

Mark Johnson will be entering his fourth season as Manager of the Smokies in 2019, and his ninth season in the Cubs organization. Johnson’s teams have reached the postseason in four of his first eight minor league managerial seasons, including a Midwest League title with Single-A Kane County in 2014 and a Mills Cup Championship with Single-A Myrtle Beach in 2015.  

Johnson spent eight seasons in the Major Leagues as a catcher with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals. In 332 career games, Johnson tallied a .218 batting average with 16 home runs and 83 runs batted in. The catcher retired following the 2010 campaign after spending two seasons in the Cubs organization with Triple-A Iowa. Johnson was drafted by the White Sox in the first round (26th overall) of the 1994 Draft out of Warner Robbins High School in Georgia.  

2019 will also mark the fourth season at the Smokies for Pitching Coach Terry Clark. Prior to joining the Cubs’ organization in 2016, he had spent the previous two seasons as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Seattle Mariners. Prior to his time with the Mariners, Clark spent 13 seasons as a minor league pitching coach with the Jackson Generals (2013), Round Rock Express (2011-12), Oklahoma City RedHawks (2009-10), Frisco RoughRiders (2005-08), Buffalo Bisons (2003-04), Akron Aeros (2001-02) and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (2000). 

Clark spent parts of six seasons in the Majors as a right-handed pitcher with the California Angels, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. In 91 career appearances (27 starts), the California native posted a 10-23 record with a 5.54 earned run average and 109 strikeouts. Clark was drafted by the Cardinals in the 23rd round of the 1979 Draft out of Mount San Antonio College in California. 

Ben Carhart returns to the staff for his second season with the club after beginning his coaching career as a rehab coach with Mesa during the 2017 season. He had a five-year playing career in the Cubs minor league system. Carhart played for the Smokies in 2016, and posted a career .270 batting average during his minor league career. Carhart was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 35th round of the 2012 Draft out of Stetson University. 

Toby Williams enters his sixth year as a Trainer in the Cubs organization and second with Double-A Tennessee. Williams previously spent two years as Myrtle Beach’s trainer, and performed the same duties for Rookie League Mesa in 2015 and Single-A Boise in 2014. Williams was honored as the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society Trainer of the Year for the Carolina League in 2016 and the Arizona League in 2015. 

Jason Morriss will return to the role of Strength Coach in 2019 for the club. Prior to Tennessee, Morriss spent the previous three seasons with Myrtle Beach and is in his seventh season with the Cubs. Prior to Myrtle Beach, he served as the strength coach for Single-A Daytona 2013-2014. Morriss earned his Bachelor’s in exercise science and his masters of education in coaching and sports at Angelo State. 

“We are happy to have five coaches returning to the Smokies for the 2019 season,” Stated President and COO Chris Allen. “These coaches are a good fit in our organization, and we are excited to have them join us again in Tennessee. We are also excited to welcome Chad Allen to the Smokies, as we will look forward to giving him a warm welcome to the Smokies Organization.”

Chad Allen will make his debut for the Smokies as a Hitting Coach after spending the last three season with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. He previously served as the Hitting Coach for the Twins’ Double-A teams from 2013 through 2015. 

Chad Allen enjoyed a 12-year professional baseball career. Allen was drafted in the 4th round of the 1996 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Allen appeared in 7 seasons in the Major Leagues, spending time with the Twins, Indians, Marlins, and Rangers.  

The Smokies will commence their 2019 home campaign against the Mississippi Braves on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The full schedule for next season and season ticket information can be found online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 865-286-2300.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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